Phoenix City Council Looks For Options In Flight Path Dispute

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 9:47pm
Updated: Friday, April 17, 2015 - 8:34am
Al Macias/KJZZ
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration refused to change new flight paths that have caused noise disruptions in central Phoenix, despite several months of meetings with city officials.

The FAA said the city is responsible with dealing with the noise. Chad Makovsky with Sky Harbor Airport said Phoenix planned around the old flight paths.

“The city has spent decades in planning and investing and appropriate land uses for our community to ensure compatible development around previous flight paths," Makovsky said. "We categorically disagree to move a highway in the sky with no public input and then suggest the city is responsible for cleaning up the mess that’s left behind.”

The FAA rejected 11 of the 14 alternative routes city representatives proposed. The agency also said it won’t entertain flight path adjustments just to mitigate noise. Changes would need to have other benefits such as safety and efficiency.

Former Congressman Ed Pastor was part of the working group that tried to find solutions the FAA. He said the agency was limited in what it could suggest.

“FAA leadership gave the charge to the working group that they were limited to working with alternatives that did not require a new federal action," Pastor said.

Pastor said that means the group didn’t have the authorization to significantly alter flight paths.

The City Council is still requesting the FAA revert to previous flight paths with new technology to accomplish safety and efficiency goals. The city hasn’t yet decided if it will sue the agency.